Sunday, 17 April 2011

Fear in Italy

I am learning that Italians are a scared bunch of people. Sometimes I don't know how they manage to leave the house, and let's be honest, in small villages lots of people just don't, but that's another story! I never realised how dangerous the most simple things can be.

In Calabria in particular it is popular to eat fruit after a meal, rather then sweets. A while back, last year I think, after dinner with bel fidanzato's parents the fruit bowl was placed on the table. We all reached in and I pulled out a juicy looking orange. His parents were staring at me, a look of shock and fear flashed across their faces. What was I doing? they asked. Umm, I thought we are like, meant to eat fruit after dinner to help our digestion. (Another thing I have learnt. Who knows about digestion in Australia, not me...) I looked around the table and the fruit of choice was mandarins, not oranges. No, you can't eat an orange after dinner! Ok then. I can't remember exactly why, I think it had something to do with the acid upsetting my digestive system and not allowing me to sleep, or something like that. As always is the case with me I said, don't worry, I am Australian, I have a strong stomach and can eat anything after dinner. I'll be fine! And I was fine, but to avoid the Italians at the dinner table being nervous for the duration of the evening, I avoid eating oranges at night, in public.

Another day when our shower was out of order we went to bel fidanzato's parents for lunch, then a shower. As soon as lunch was over I got up and walked to the bathroom. I'm off to have a shower, I called out. What? bel fidanzato's dad looked at me like I had said I was about to jump off a bridge. So soon after eating? It is dangerous to have a shower when your food starts to digest. I said, well, in Australia I have showers when ever I want, and I've always been fine. After a heated discussion it was decided that I had to hurry and have a shower before my food actually started to digest, or I had to wait until later when it was completely digested. I ran off as fast as I could to the shower, not wanting to cause my in-laws more unnecessary stress of having this foreign daughter-in-law who does strange things. Now, why is a shower after eating so bad? I guess it's like not swimming after you've eaten. Apparently the food won't be digested properly and it can get blocked causing you discomfort and even harm!

One of the biggest Italian fears is not food related, but all about the weather, or more precisely the dreaded wind. 'C'e vento!' There's wind, you hear everyone and anyone cry out as soon as the slightest hint of wind emerges. Even children are scared of the wind and I don't blame them when from an early age the fear of wind has been put into them. One such windy day a few weeks ago we were out walking with bel bambino, we braved the winds and survived, but don't forget I am Australian so have 'permission' to do crazy things like walk in the wind with a newborn. We passed an old man who was carrying wood into his house and his little grandson was watching from the door. Come out and help me, called the grand father, No nonno, I can't. There's wind! I was shocked. This child was about 4 years old and seriously was scared to go out into the wind. Now I am not so crazy that I take bel bambino out into the cold icy wind, but as long as he is rugged up and protected in the pram then a little bit of normal wind does him good!

If you live in Italy then I am sure you know about this fear of wind, and if you travel to Italy, on a windy day pay close attention to conversations as I am sure it'll all be about the wind.   

13 comments:

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

So true Leanne and of course it takes three hours for your light lunch on the beach to digest before you can go swimming. No gardening for me today as it is too windy, my neighbour said I should be indoors.

Gil said...

I remember the beach thing too when my grandmother came to the beach with us she wouldn't even let us get our toes wet.

Canedolia said...

I had the orange conversation with a French person just the other day. It must be speaking English that keeps us resistant to all these dangers!

Chad said...

Leanne, where was the beach picture at the top of your blog taken? I'm looking to possibly come to Italy later this year for vacation, and looking for good places to visit.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I know exactly what you mean! Italians are such hypochondriacs. I constantly hear mums telling their children not to sweat. They're terrified of sweating! I think it does kids far more harm not letting them run to avoid sweating. And then, I see kids all the time in cars without any seatbelts! I really don't undrestand how they can be so scared of things like eating oranges in the evening or sweating and not be scared of letting their small children sit in a car without a car seat or seat belt. Don't you just love this crazy country!!

Leanne in Italy said...

Hi LindyLouMac,
Poor you with no gardening...if only you could do it without getting noticed by the neighbours!

Hi Gil,
Yes, the sea water and the wrong time is bad for us...

Hi Canedolia,
Spot on. The miracles of speaking English, it protects us from so much.

Hi Chad,I took that photo on Scillain Reggio Calabria. It is a beautiful sea side town which is worth a visit.

Hi Sarah Elizabeth said...
Ah, the fear of sweat, how could I forget! Such fear when they see a child running around, getting sweaty especially if they are wearing just a tshirt and no jumper.

bchan83 said...

ahahahahh i see all what you've said, but darling, you're in calabria! strange people live there :D
we're not afraid in italy of the wind! never heard before, ahahahah.
and yes, we try not to go swimming after lunch....but a shower! come on, it's not all that cold water! and i've always eaten oranges after dinner :)
yea, they're heavy, there are some people i know who don't eat them because of the digestion...but it's the same with cupsicums! they're heavy in the same way...
they are just calabrese :D
calebreses people seem strange to us too :)

Leanne in Italy said...

Hi Bchan,
HA, yes capsicums, that is another thing that many people prefer not to eat for dinner since they cannot digest.

Anonymous said...

We are also scared of the sun.Never dare to walk out in the sun without an hat.
...and air consitioning OMG, it is dangerous to go in a air conditioned room when outside is 80degree. make sure you put on a sweater...and never, never drink iced cold sodas after running if you ssweat...and so on :)

Cezanne said...

The kids sweating... love it. So so true. My boyfriend's sister-in-law takes changes of t-shirts with her everywhere for the kids incase they sweat. And it's unheard of that they might play in the dirt or crawl under the bed for a game of hide and seek. And what about having to blow-dry your hair in 35 degree summer heat for fear of the dreaded febbre! Usually the argument is more than its worth with my Sicilian boyfriend... I really don't know how I ever survived in Australia.

Anonymous said...

so, why did you come here? if you don't like our ''rules'' you'd better get your country!!! ahahah i'm just joking.

Anonymous said...

Moved from Sydney to a town near Milan with my girlfriend and I can relate with you on everything.My crimes are walking inside with bare feet (even on hot days), not wearing warm enough clothes, not drinking enough coffee and when I do drink it is the wrong type of coffee at the wrong time of day and to be seen with a beer in the hand would be worse than death

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm Italian and it's so true!
My boyfriend doesn't want me to have a shower after dinner and to eat orange at night, too. It's so ridicoulous. I was lucky because my parents always allowed me to play outside when I wanted, even with wind and cold weather and I never catched a flu, althought my family's friends always blamed my parents to let me and my brother to wear what in theyr opinion were light clothes!!